Madagascar Christians Rebuild After Deadly Cyclone
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ANTANANARIVO (Worthy News) – Christians are trying to rebuild “their lives and ministries” after Cyclone Batsirai hit the island nation of Madagascar, killing more than 100 people and destroying many churches and homes, aid workers told Worthy News.
“The impoverished churches have also suffered great losses. The Anglican Church alone has lost at least 81 church buildings, six schools, and 13 pastors’ houses,” added Barnabas Fund, the Christian relief, and advocacy group.
Also, “homes of church members were all damaged or completely destroyed” last week “by the wind and rain” of the gigantic deadly storm, Barnabas Fund explained. “Doubtless, the other denominations have suffered similar devastation,” the group stressed.
From late Saturday until late Sunday, February 6, Cyclone Batsirai battered especially the south-eastern corner of this “desperately poor country,” aid workers noted. The area was already in a state of emergency due to another cyclone two weeks earlier.
Besides facing the destruction of their churches and homes, Christian survivors are grieving as “at least 111 people died, mainly drowned or crushed when their houses collapsed,” Barnabas Fund told Worthy News. “Already underdeveloped, much of the country’s infrastructure has been wrecked, with roads and bridges impassable, and schools, hospitals, and at least 6,000 homes destroyed.”
Barnabas Fund, which is raising support for its aid program in the nation, expressed concerns about possible famine. “The terrible irony is that southern Madagascar has suffered repeated droughts in recent years, causing severe hunger and even deaths from starvation as crops failed. Now the rain has fallen in such quantities that the growing rice was destroyed by flooding. In Madagascar, rice is normally cultivated without the fields lying underwater all the time,” the group added.
“Cyclone Batsirai has gone, leaving Madagascar with disasters,” added a Malagasy church leader who thanked Christians for prayers in
in remarks shared with Worthy News.
The storm came while devoted Christians face rising Islam and discriminating at work in the world’s second-largest island country, after Indonesia, U.S. officials and church sources said. And, Madagascar deals with the aftermath of political instability, including coups, violent unrest, and disputed elections since gaining independence from France in 1960.
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